UPDATE 5/4/2020: Read the most recent statement by Bishop Mariann Budde, outlining a 4-phase plan, as developed by the Bishops of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, Washington DC, and Virginia. This plan goes as far as possible at present to answer the frequently asked question, “When will we be able to regather?”
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So what is your favorite movie? The one that you really like, the one that is not always your answer. You know what I mean the embarrassing one, the one you have to explain why it is your favorite.
I mean the one I tell people that I do not have to explain would probably be Wonder Woman, So amazing right, and I do love it. But if I had to tell you my secret favorite movie, a movie that the theater I worked for showed as a midnight movie one perfect night Saturday in the early 90’s. The movie I had to build up and check to see if I got it right. So I watched it on Sunday night on the big screen, and then watched 6 more time, until I broke it down and shipped back?
It is a sequel and you would be disrespecting it if you did not watch Terminator from 1984, a not perfect film but it sets the table for the sequel so well. Now they are on line and they are violent so fair warning. Terminator 2. I have no shame about it; it is the perfect 90’s movie.
(Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator, a cyborg assassin sent back in time from 2029 to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), whose son will one day become a savior against machines in a post-apocalyptic future.)
The whole point of the movie is this it is not okay to kill, and the messaging is a 14-year-old juvenile delinquent. When his mother can not see a way forward he does, he invites other in to see it rather than destroy them. And is persuasive enough to not just order but help a cyborg assassin to understand it as well.
In this gospel of Jesus we are setting the table to go into the story of Holy Week. We are hearing the triumphal entry this morning; we are hearing Jesus come in to the city that kills its prophets. This is the first part of the story. And Jesus being Jesus sets the city on its ear.
Jesus who turns the upside down the right side up, the one who makes left, right and right left is yet again, creating chaos, or as our PB Michael would say…”good trouble.”
When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?”
A whole city in turmoil, a whole district in turmoil, a whole country, and a whole world.
We are not in the streets we are in our houses; we ourselves are in that turmoil.
Trying not to let our fear take hold of us, the fear of the unknown.
Turmoil is an old word it is about a mill or a hopper being in constant turning, we in constant turning looking for the comfort of our normal routine
And even if we pretend, even if we have a goal that we will learn a new language, a handcraft, be of service in the world, we are still in turmoil.
So like Jesus in his first chapter of this narrative, who comes into a city that will kill him, who does this to stop the pendulum of violence? His story will continue on Maundy Thursday with his capture where he will not let others get hurt, his death on Good Friday leaves an absence and when he comes back and stops that pendulum of paybacks, retrabution that just keeps it in motion. He reaches out and stops it cold.
When you go out and see the empty streets, empty stadiums, empty train platforms, don’t say to yourself, “it looks like the end of the world.” What you’re seeing is love an action. What you’re seeing that negative space, is how much we care for each other, for our grandparents, for immune-compromised siblings, for people we never meet.
People will lose jobs over this. Some lose their businesses. And some others their lives. All the more reason to take a moment when we’re out on your walk, or on your way to the store, or just watching the news to look into the emptiness and marvel at all of that love.
Let it fill you and sustain you. It isn’t the end of the world it’s the most remarkable Act of global solidarity we may ever Witness.
It will not feel like Easter on Sunday. We will not be together, we will have to live into the hunger for community, for the Eucharist, for the coming back of Jesus for a while longer but for now let us remember the witness of a fictional 14 year old John about it is not okay to hurt people, and the witness of Jesus who wants us to look at the world anew.